- Awards -Why Aren’t They Playing People Off At The 2021 Oscars? Blame Questlove
The glitz! The glamour! The celebrities! The awkward moment when an Oscars speech runs long and the orchestra plays them off! These are the things we look forward to during the biggest night in Hollywood, aka, the Academy Awards. Well, things look a lot different this year. First of all, the award show is taking place around the world — Olivia Colman is basically sitting in a theater in London by herself. (One special location had… brown carpeting in a hotel foyer. Shudders.) But more importantly, the Oscars 2021 speeches were long — very long — and no one, not even Questlove and his gold Crocs, played them off.
Usually, after an acceptance speech runs around 45 seconds, the winner is subtly played off by an orchestra. And when they don’t take the hint, the orchestra swells… louder, and louder, and louder, until you’re screaming at the TV, “PLEASE, MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, GET OFF THE STAGE.”
Well, there's a reason we don't get that secondhand embarrassment this year. The Oscars musical director this year is Questlove, and according to the Tonight Show's resident musician, DJ, and one of the frontmen of The Roots — we get it, he's very accomplished — he's not going to be playing anyone off while DJ'ing the evening. He shared with Variety prior to the show:
The one thing I’m a little disappointed that I won’t be able to do is my favorite all-time thing, which is the play-off music when the speeches get too long. (Laughter) I’m not allowed to do that. They were like, “No, you can’t interrupt speeches,” so if [8-year-old Alan Kim from “Minari,” who cried when accepting a Critics’ Choice award last month] won Best Supporting Actor, I would just interrupt his speech. (Laughter) Not really. But one day I’ll cross that off the bucket list.
OK, so Questlove is just being a big 'ole softy and letting people Live And Let Go on the stage that looks more like it is about to host the Best Regional Salesman in the Midwest Conference than the Oscars. Noted.
One person I'm sure would have loved the big swell of music is Daniel Kaluuya's mom, who was watching from London with her daughter as Kaluuya took home the Oscar for The Best Supporting Actor early in the night.
Because while Kaluuya's speech was moving, he added this bit that made his mom bring that one Jonah Hill gif to life:
"We gotta celebrate, we gotta celebrate life... We're breathing, we're walking. It's incredible. Like, my mom, my dad, they had sex — it's amazing! I'm here. I'm so happy to be alive and I'm gonna celebrate that tonight."
Violinists everywhere were itching to cut that one off.